Report on the Operation of the Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Act 2017
As the Minister responsible for the administration of the Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Act 2017 (Act), I am required under section 24 to present a report on the operation of the Act to the House of Representatives within 12 months of the commencement of the Act (and every 12 months thereafter). These reports must include a list of the Orders in Council made under the Act during that period and a brief description of those Orders.
This is the first report under the Act, covering the period from 22 December 2017 to 21 December 2018.
The Christ Church Cathedral (the Cathedral) was significantly damaged in the 6.3 magnitude earthquake on 22 February 2011. Almost seven years later the Cathedral remained damaged and barricaded due to disagreements and prolonged litigation over its future. The Cathedral’s central location meant that delays to a decision about its future continued to affect the wider recovery and regeneration of Christchurch.
The Act was enacted by Parliament to facilitate reinstatement of the Cathedral in an expedited manner and provide a cost-effective process for reinstatement compared with normal statutory processes. It is also intended to achieve earlier or greater certainty for the owner of the Cathedral and the Christchurch community generally.
The Act was designed to facilitate reinstatement of the Cathedral by allowing, through Orders in Council, temporary exemptions from, modifications, or extensions to an enactment, or any provisions of an enactment, referred to in Schedule 2 of the Act, in connection with the whole or a part of the Cathedral area.
The Act provides that only the joint venture, or entity that is managing the reinstatement of the Cathedral, or the Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Review Panel (the Panel), may propose that I recommend to the Governor-General the making of an Order in Council under the Act.
The joint venture (Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Limited) was established in August 2018 and is currently doing the initial work required to prepare a stabilisation plan (the reinstatement project plan cannot be prepared until a stabilisation methodology to make the site safe has been determined). The Panel is yet to be established. This is due to the priority given to establish the joint venture so it can work out the reinstatement project plan, including what kind of Order in Council may be needed to facilitate the reinstatement. The knowledge, skills and experience of the Panel members may vary depending on the works required under the project plan and the scope of any Order in Council.
Orders in Council
As at the date of presenting this report, no Order in Council has been made under the Act.
No other statutory powers have been exercised under this Act during the reporting period.
Progress in the Cathedral reinstatement
Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Limited (CCRL) was established in August 2018 and it appointed Keith Paterson as Project Director to lead the reinstatement project in November 2018.
Over the next few months CCRL will be:
- considering stabilisation methodologies;
- installing further safety fencing at the eastern end of the Cathedral;
- investigating the removal of some of the largely redundant steel reinforcing frame in front of the Cathedral’s western entrance;
- further securing the site by replacing and enhancing some of the existing fencing; and
- conducting a selection process to appoint a structural engineering firm to assist with the stabilisation and reinstatement work.
Temporary signage has gone up around the Cathedral site to provide information on the project to reinstate the Cathedral. There is also a website: www.reinstate.org.nz, providing ongoing information on the reinstatement.
The Church Property Trustees (CPT) have completed the removal of the asbestos contaminated hard fill that was previously on site and carried out other site preparation and general clean-up works on the site.
A License to Occupy has now been signed by CCRL and CPT. CCRL now has control of and responsibility for the Cathedral site for the duration of the reinstatement project.